E3 2016 Predictions

Despite being thousands of miles from home, in a developing country, and having most of the beans spilled already, I’m still incredibly excited for E3 this year. I did some quick reading of previous E3 events in hopes to find which was my first. I can’t exactly remember. I think it may have been 2007. Regardless, E3 has been a big part of my life for the last several years. It’s a fun holiday where I take just about everything with a grain of salt and see the “future” of the industry that I have grown up loving. Also, my first post on this blog was my “E3 2015 predictions,” so it’s kind of cool to have a years worth on content already. I loved doing the “Let’s laugh at my E3 2015 predictions,” and can’t wait to do it again this year.

Last year I was able to break apart and analyze all the conferences independently. I am not ruling that out, I may have a short post or two detailing some of my thoughts, but I don’t expect them to be as in-depth as last year due to all of what’s going on here.

As I already mentioned, it feels like this E3 has much more leaks than any E3 that I can remember. Which I’m somewhat thankful for, because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with the event as closely as I normally would this year.

Speaking of being in Guatemala, I just got out of a lukewarm shower, so bear with me if I have any typos/overlooks/mistakes.

I don’t have many predictions, seeing as how much of it is leaked, but I do have hopes. Let’s dive in, going in order of conference showing.


 

EA

I think this is the first EA conference I’ve had some hype for in a long time. I am really interested to learn more about Battlefield 1 and see what direction that is going in. I love the idea of it, at this point, I’m theirs to lose.

Titanfall 2 will probably be their bread and butter of this conference. I’m optimistic for it. I never played the first one, but always wanted to. It seemed like a good game with smart ideas, just no legs. I have faith that the developers have learned from their mistakes and really look forward to seeing what they have planned.

I’d love for some actual news on Mass Effect. I’d really love for a surprise announcement of the Mass Effect trilogy heading to current gen.

Maybe something to do with Star Wars? I feel like that’s obligatory at this point. They have to have something Star Wars related right?

Overall I’m excited for EA. I think there is room for a few surprises, nothing that is going to shock me, but it’ll be fun either way.


 

Bethesda

Oh man, I’m really looking forward to this conference and I don’t even consider myself a fan of Bethesda.

This conference probably holds the most speculation and has circulated the rumor mill more than any other conference, other than Nintendo.

Skyrim Remastered? I did not enjoy the original game and forced myself to play it. It was just a technical disaster for me on my 360. Maybe the performance of a current gen console is what the game needed. I’d love to return to it again and see if my initial feelings still hold true. My bold prediction for this, not only will it be remastered for current gen, but it will have the mod support that Fallout 4 does.

The Evil Within 2 is rumored. It is going to take A LOT for me to care about that game after being burned so badly by the first one. Very few games have rubbed me the wrong way so quickly as The Evil Within.

It’d be cool if they showed/reannounced Prey 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if that ended up being one of the games of the show.

They’ll show a lot of Dishonored 2. I still need to play the first one, so I don’t have much to say.

This is a conference that I think will be a must-see. It’s going to leave people talking and will be a great way to lead people into the first official day of E3 on Monday.


 

Microsoft

Please, please, please, please be a good conference! I’m at the point where I would like an Xbox One now. Just sell me on it! The back catalog is good enough, now I just want some assurance on the direction it is going. I’m really excited to see what they have to say about the new version of the Xbox One. I already want one, just help me justify that decision, Microsoft.

Dead Rising 4! It was rumored and today some screenshots were leaked featuring Frank West. I love the Dead Rising games but Dead Rising 3 was not enough to sell me on an Xbox One. It looked like it was trying to go a direction I didn’t want to. However, I’m hopeful for the newest installment.

Halo Wars 2 will be there, but I’m not sure about any other Halo related games.

Gears of War 5 will be there. After seeing the first footage from the game, I wasn’t very excited. I really enjoy the Gears of War games, but what I’ve seen of Gears of War 5 hasn’t left me wanting more. Hopefully they can change that.

I hope to see more of ReCore. That little teaser last year was very intriguing, but featured no gameplay and no real details.

I think that Microsoft is in prime position to “win” E3 this year. With Sony focusing on VR and Nintendo focusing on NX, they can steal the current gamer. I hope they capitalize. I hope they sell me an Xbox One.

Oh and show me more Cuphead!


 

Ubisoft

Blech. Ubisoft has really gotten on my bad side as of late. I really liked The Division, but it wasn’t what it was made out to be. Same with Watch Dogs. It’s hard to trust them at this point.

I don’t know, man. Watch Dogs 2 is confirmed and I really don’t care. That new Tom Clancy game they announced last year will be there. I got nothing, guys. And I’m ok with that.


 

Sony

I consider myself a Playstation gamer, so I’m hopeful for this conference. I know that VR is going to be an emphasis, I feel like that’s why they elected to not show the new PS4 console at E3 this year. I don’t know how to feel about VR. If it’s cheap and it works, sure, I’ll try it. I’ll expect to get a price and release date out of the conference.

I’m not getting my hopes up, but I’d love to see Kojima on stage for Sony talking about his newest game. I doubt we get any footage, I’d be surprised if there’s even a teaser trailer. I’d just expect him to talk about what he’s doing.

The Last Guardian will be there with a release date (FINALLY).

Please give us PS1 play on PS4.

Possibly a new announcement from Naughty Dog? I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted until PSX for that, though.

We’ll probably see more God of War stuff, based on those leaks that featured him in the Norse setting.

If there is to be Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts stuff shown, I’d expect it to show up here.

Shenmue gameplay?

I’m really not sure what to expect. Last year was such a monumental year for Sony at E3, how do they follow that up? Surely not with a conference dedicated to VR.


 

Nintendo

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, Nintendo.

What is there to even say?

I suspect it’ll focus almost entirely on the NX and Zelda.

I’m interested to see what the NX has to offer, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I still feel burned by Nintendo for getting a Wii U. I hope it blows me away, but I have my doubts. I’m thinking it will be both a home console and portable console. A hybrid of the two. I suspect they’ll give it an official name and release window. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop the bomb and give an exact date and price. That’s a ballsy move that Nintendo would make.

The parts not talking about NX will talk about Zelda. Yes, Zelda will lead the Nintendo E3 discussion for the umpteenth year in a row. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am so Zelda-fatigued. It’s as bad as annual releases to me. Sure, there isn’t a Zelda game every year, but they advertise and market it as so. I’ve never been a huge fan of the franchise.

Not much to say here, hopefully they do something awesome, but it’d take something extremely awesome to win me over.


Other

Maybe we’ll see Rockstar announce something Red Dead related.

More Deus Ex stuff will be shown, speaking of which, for a game that’s already announced, that’s been pretty quiet as of late.

I’d love to see Rocksteady announce something now that they’re done with Batman.

Something Resident Evil related may show up. Hopefully it’s something different because what they’ve been doing as of late…well it’s just not working.


 

More or less, that’s it. I wish I could dive in more and really hash out my predictions, but I just haven’t had the time to sit and brainstorm about it. I’m even writing this blog the morning of. It’s been a crazy summer away from home and everything I find comforting, but it will bring me some peace being able to unwind with a favorite tradition of mine this week. Happy E3 everybody!

Games That Defined My 2015

2015 was one of the strongest years in gaming that I can remember. There were a ton of surprises, AAA games that lived up to the hype, and older games that were revitalized.

I sat down and tried to compile a list of my favorite games of the year, and in previous years, I always felt confident that those were my ten favorite games of that year, but this year was different. I felt bad for leaving certain games off my top ten, but there was simply no room. I guess that’s a good problem to have…?

When considering which game I enjoyed the most, a ton of factors came into play, and those factors would change the results. Which game gave me a story that I’m still thinking about? Well, this game did. Which game had the most memorable moment that I’ll always remember? Well, that goes to this other game. Which game had the most fun gameplay that I keep wanting to return to? Well, that’s this game. So on, so on.

I tried to narrow it down as much as I could. Two.

Two games that combine everything I loved about gaming in 2015 into two masterpieces. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Bloodborne.

Before we dive into that, check out some of the highlights from my year in gaming, as captured by my PS4.

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METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN

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The above scene was one of the most memorable, and haunting moments I’ve witnessed in a game.

Metal Gear Solid is my favorite franchise, not just in gaming, but in any type of media, ever. So it’s no surprise that the swan song of the series was my favorite game this year.

The Phantom Pain is the best Metal Gear game and it feels like series creator Hideo Kojima was finally able to accomplish what he set out to do nearly 30 years ago.

The gameplay is the smoothest I have ever played. It’s remarkable how easy it is to transition your plans and ideas into the game. It doesn’t handcuff you or hinder you in any way.

Metal Gear has gotten bad slack in the past for being heavily story driven, and taking control away from the player too much. The Phantom Pain is the antithesis of the typical Metal Gear game.

There are few moments of story where gameplay is stripped from you, which made the story moments feel important, and heavy.

And they were, as The Phantom Pain did things and went places that I have never seen a mainstream video game go. There were moments in that game that left me dumbfounded and others that left me flat out disturbed.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an achievement in gaming. It transcends the barrier between game and gamer and gave me feelings a video game has never done before.


BLOODBORNE

Bloodborne™_20150425145515
Bloodborne always looks this great.

I was nervous about Bloodborne. I had tried From Software’s previous titles, and could never get attached to them.

From Software is known for making some of the most difficult and unforgiving video games. That’s always turned me off to them.

I’m not into gaming for the difficulty or frustration.

Then I realized why people play these games… It’s rewarding.

When I finally figured out Bloodborne, I reached a certain boss who I was hung up on for two days. I had to take a break from the game for a week, and when I returned I was finally able to defeat the boss. The satisfaction I felt defeating that boss is what gaming is all about.

I’m *probably* never going to kill a giant deformed wolf monster in real life, but doing it in Bloodborne felt satisfactory enough.

My favorite thing about Bloodborne was the world, the creatures, and the lore.

Everything is very Lovecraftian, and the creatures are disgustingly fun to look at.

The story of the game revolves around the moon, which is just about always in sight and creates for beautiful landmarks, juxtaposed by a giant tentacle Elder God crawling on a building.

Bloodborne had the best style of any game I played this year, and the interesting world left me thirsty to learn more.


Maybe one day I’ll dive more into the other games that made this year so great, but for now, these are the two I felt like I took the most from.

Here’s my entire Top 10 of 2015. The rankings aren’t very strict, any of these games could by my number one on a certain day. They’re all great and all deserved to be checked out.

1.) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

2.) Bloodborne

3.) Shovel Knight

4.) Super Mario Maker

5.) Xenoblade Chronicles X

6.) Project CARS

7.) Rocket League

8.) Batman: Arkham Knight

9.) Until Dawn

10.) Her Story

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN_20150917134426
See you in 2016

Your Stories Will Always Remain… As Will Your Valiant Hearts

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is something special.  Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Valiant Hearts is, at its core, a puzzle game.  Now I’m not huge on puzzle games, mainly because I like to turn off my brain when I play games, but Valiant Hearts isn’t just a puzzle game.  It’s an adventure, a family story, a message, and a history lesson all blended together into one endearing experience.

As the title indicates, Valiant Hearts takes place during World War I.  Gameplay is split between 4 characters, but I’d like to focus on Emile, who is French, and his German son-in-law, Karl.  Both of these men are forced into war after Karl gets deported from his family in France.  Gameplay alternates between serving the French army, as Emile, and the German army, as Karl.  It’s an interesting take on the war.  The game keeps an objective tone and doesn’t favor either side.  Instead, it focuses on the men themselves, and their personal lives.  The game isn’t about fighting or winning, it’s about surviving to be reunited with your loved ones.

Valiant Hearts has my favorite instance of collectibles in a game to date.  Each level has a set amount of hidden collectibles and it’s up to the player to dig them out, same old routine.  However, the collectibles are mini-history lessons.  All the items are artifacts and relics from World War I.  Collecting the item will give you a brief summary on what it is, or what it was used for.  For instance, I found a urine soaked handkerchief outside of an abandoned trench.  I learned that soldiers used this to protect themselves from mustard gas when a gas mask wasn’t available.   Some collectibles are actual real-life letters written to and from loved ones, and pictures as well.  It’s all incredibly powerful and eye-opening to the hell these people went through.

The entire game has a somber, somewhat futile tone to it.  War is painful for soldiers, families, civilians, anyone and everyone.  Valiant Hearts does a great job of reminding the player this.  It isn’t just a puzzle game, it’s a beautiful memorial to all of those affected by a terrible tragedy.

E3 2015 Predictions

Finally, it’s that time of year again.  Time for me to pull predictions out of thin air and hope they magically come to fruition so that I feel a little bit better about myself.  As I look over my notes from last year’s predictions, the only one I was off on was Microsoft mentioning Gears of War and Sony announcing an Infamous Vita game.  Granted, I did play it quite safe last year.  I tried to be a bit more ambitious this year, considering this is my first prediction that will be posted online.  I’m only focusing on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, but I’ll add an “other” category for everything else.


Microsoft

Honestly, I’m a little clueless on what to expect from Microsoft.  The one solid bet I had and something I was looking forward to was learning more about Quantum Break.  Then, of course, it was announced that it will be skipping E3 this year and be shown at Gamescom.  I’m really curious what is in store for that game since it was marketed to be so involved with a television series by the now defunct Xbox TV team.

Gears of War HD Collection will definitely show up, given all the leaks, but they’ll announce a new, formal Gears game for Xbox One as well.  Nothing more than a title card though.

Halo, Halo, Halo.

Rumors are circulating around a new title being announced by Platinum, it’d fit good in the Microsoft presser.

With Windows 10 coming, Microsoft will find a way to work it in with the Xbox crowd, in a cool, but useless way.

I’ve somewhat distanced myself from Microsoft in the last few years, if you couldn’t tell by my “predictions.”  Their conferences have been flat and they really have nothing to show for it.  They have the most to gain in their presser, so I’m looking forward to it.


Sony

THE LAST GUARDIAN.

But no seriously, this is the year, right?  Last year there was a ton going on involving the game, with someone stating it was dead, then Shu stating it wasn’t, right before E3.  I could see that encouraging Sony to throw something out there to show it’s alive and well, especially since nobody expects it again and it’d shock the world.  Nevermind, I changed my mind, it will never happen.

Titanfall 2 will be announced on the Sony stage.  It won’t be exclusive, but Sony will be making a statement by revealing it to the world on their stage.

Sony dropping the Vita to a ridiculous price and committing to marketing it as a PS4 accessory.

PS Now catalogue expanding to Playstation 2 titles.

PS4 system update that includes access to PS Classics.  Chalk this one up as wishful thinking, more than a prediction.  It was a bummer discovering the PS4 didn’t have access to the classics.  With the announcement during the Playstation Experience that a new version of FFVII is coming to the PS4 with trophies, it makes it seem like the originals won’t be making the leap unless they receive this sort of special treatment.

I expect Sony to keep applying the pressure they have been in previous years at E3.  I’m afraid their movie studio will play a larger role this year with the upcoming Ratchet and Clank movie.


Nintendo

Oh boy, Nintendo.  I will say I really enjoyed their digital event last year.  I like new Nintendo, embracing the ability to be different.

They’ll give us an actual name for the new Zelda and a lengthy demo.  Just to assure us things aren’t burning down since they had to delay it.

Ditto for Star Fox, but the big reveal will be that it releases this holiday.  Please have a good online component.

Pokemon Wii U.  Okay, maybe just a new one for 3DS.

An all new, original Mario game.  Mario was completely absent from Nintendo’s event last year, so he’ll return in big fashion this year.

More Xenoblade, please!

It’s really difficult to predict what Nintendo will show, given that they have made such a big deal out of their random Nintendo Direct shows.  Nintendo doesn’t really need E3 to announce things at this point.


Other

As soon as I saw the Fallout 4 trailer I felt that it had to come out this year.  Now there are tons of rumors and retailers leaking that it is indeed due out this year, so I expect that to be a huge announcement.

Star Wars Battlefront and/or Rainbow Six Siege will get alpha/beta demos soon, maybe exclusive to one of the consoles.

The Division gameplay featuring actors.

Release dates for Mirror’s Edge and Kingdom Hearts.

Valve will show off their home stuff.


As always, E3 is going to be a blast to watch.  The biggest reveals are already out in the open it seems, so I really don’t expect any mouth dropping moments.  I’ll be sure to update during E3 containing some of my thoughts about the news and updates, so stay tuned.